iPad, Not Yet Released, Already Threatening to Bring Its Own Plague: Bad Posture

By Smriti Rao | February 8, 2010 12:13 pm

ipadHere’s a message from the Department of the Obvious–overuse of the new iPad could lead to bad posture.

If we were handed Apple’s latest sleek and shiny gadget offering, we’d find it hard not to gaze lovingly at it for extended periods of time. And given that the tablet is Wi-Fi and (in some models) 3G compatible, it will be all the harder to resist spend hours jabbing at the shiny glass screen, typing out emails or playing online games.

Now, scientists have declared that prolonged usage of the iPad could lead to bad posture, and that those hunched shoulders could cause neck and upper back problems.

Anthony Andre, the founder of Interface Analysis Associates (IAA), observed that people’s current crummy posture while working on mobile devices like laptops is a result of an inherent design flaw in the machines. Pointing out the “co-location” of the keyboard and the monitor, Andre told TechNews Daily that two things that belong in different places have been thrown together. Hence the aches and pains. LiveScience reports:

Andre calls this position – which typically involves sitting hunched over, with rounded shoulders, laptop on lap, and arms held close to the body – the “airport posture.”

“The thinner and more mobile the device, the worse it is, because you end up in more situations where you normally wouldn’t even use a laptop,” Andre said.

He added that the negative side of the increased mobility offered by the iPad tablet is that the device crosses the final frontier; now people can snuggle with a iPad in bed or bring it to the toilet.

For those iPad fans who know that this is a real danger, the swamis of ergonomics suggest you minimize “musculoskeletal problems” by limiting usage of the device (one hour is OK, eight hours is not). If you must spend eight hours on your device, say the docs, don’t forget to take micro breaks and stretch. Finally, don’t forget that other forms of communication do still exist. You don’t have to resort to smoke signals, but from time to time you could try a trusty old corded telephone.

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Image: Apple

  • http://www.jamesandthegiantcorn.com James

    “the device crosses the final frontier; now people can snuggle with a iPad in bed or bring it to the toilet.”

    Lots of people already do the first with their laptops, and, sadly, I’m pretty sure some already do the second with them as well.

    For the first, try this posture: Supine in the bed, with the edge of the laptop’s keyboard resting against the base of the rib cage. Lean the laptop slightly towards your head so its weight can rest comfortably on your palms while you type and extend the screen at a more than 90 degree angle so it is comfortably visible without raising your head.

    I wouldn’t have to write a paper in that position, but it works nicely for tossing off answers to the first and last batches of e-mails every day.

  • http://theeternaluniverse.blogspot.com/ Joseph Smidt

    This would not be my biggest reason for not wanting to buy an iPad. But it is funny things like this are already being discussed by scientists. You would think they have better stuff to do.

  • Jenz

    This just in:

    Reading books could be bad for your posture.

    More news at eleven…

    rediculous

  • fklogic

    @Jenz:

    This just in:

    “Ridiculous” is spelled with no E’s.

    More news in elementary school.

  • Jenz

    Ach blame my 5 yrs of english at school

  • http://twitter.com/tommyl tommyl

    I don’t know about this “colocation problem” the IAA guy talks about. Sure, putting the keyboard and screen together might promote poor posture. But what’s the alternative? Even if you can separate the keyboard from the screen, you’re still staring at the screen for prolonged periods. That’s where I see a problem. For goodness sakes, move around a bit and look into the distance some of the time.

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